True amontillados are naturally aged versions of the best finos, and are totally dry. Napoleon is a rare example of an authentic amontillado from Manzanilla origins in a long, lean and elegant style.
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Founded in 1792 by Jose Pantaleon Hidalgo, Bodegas Hidalgo is owned by the sixth successive generation of the family. Hidalgo is a modern rarity, being the last remaining family business (and almacenista, for those familiar with this term) to produce and export its own unblended, single-solera Sherries.
Just as rare is Bodegas Hidalgo’s total reliance on its own vineyards, 500 acres of Palomino Fino located in the great chalk pagos (”crus”) of Balbaina - the closest Jerez vineyard to the sea - and Miraflores, the great Sanlucar vineyard renowned for the pedigree of its wines. Just as significant is the privileged location of the family’s Bodega San Luis - at beach-level in Sanlucar de Barrameda, where the Guadalquivir River meets the ocean. Here, the miracle of Manzanilla is made possible by constant exposure to Atlantic breezes, laden with moisture and an ambient yeast/algae culture called flor. This surface-growing culture thrives year-round along Sanlucar’s southwest-facing beachfront, protecting the resting wines from exposure to the air. At the same time, flor imparts the bracing, briny smell of sea spray which is Manzanilla’s hallmark, reflecting its years-long maturation process within earshot of the waves.
La Gitana Manzanilla (”the gypsy”), is Hidalgo’s flagship wine, product of a family solera established in the early 19th century, around the same time Manzanilla as a wine type came into existence. La Gitana is regarded as the authoritative Manzanilla in Spain and abroad.
Pastrana Manzanilla Pasada: To the southeast of Sanlucar lies a chalk dune overlooking the Atlantic which offers the perfect conditions for ripening the Palomino grape and for production of the region’s finest dry wines. This is Miraflores, the Grand Cru of Jerez Superior. Hidalgo’s ancestral Pastrana site, a monopole holding, is at the heart of Miraflores. Pastrana contributes the length and finesse, perhaps even the soul, in all of Hidalgo’s magnificent wines, and a decision was taken some years back to market small quantities of the most exemplary manzanilla from this superlative vineyard on its own.